|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Jehovah is renowned or remembered.
(1.) A prophet of Judah, the eleventh of the twelve minor prophets. Like Ezekiel, he was of priestly extraction. He describes himself (1:1) as "the son of Berechiah." In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called "the son of Iddo," who was properly his grandfather. His prophetical career began in the second year of Darius (B.C. 520), about sixteen years after the return of the first company from exile. He was contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).
His book consists of two distinct parts, (1) chapters 1 to 8, inclusive, and (2) 9 to the end. It begins with a preface (1:1-6), which recalls the nation's past history, for the purpose of presenting a solemn warning to the present generation. Then follows a series of eight visions (1:7-6:8), succeeding one another in one night, which may be regarded as a symbolical history of Israel, intended to furnish consolation to the returned exiles and stir up hope in their minds. The symbolical action, the crowning of Joshua (6:9-15), describes how the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of God's Christ.
Chapters 7 and 8, delivered two years later, are an answer to the question whether the days of mourning for the destruction of the city should be any longer kept, and an encouraging address to the people, assuring them of God's presence and blessing.
The second part of the book (ch. 9-14) bears no date. It is probable that a considerable interval separates it from the first part. It consists of two burdens.
The first burden (ch. 9-11) gives an outline of the course of God's providential dealings with his people down to the time of the Advent.
The second burden (ch. 12-14) points out the glories that await Israel in "the latter day", the final conflict and triumph of God's kingdom.
(2.) The son or grandson of Jehoiada, the high priest in the times of Ahaziah and Joash. After the death of Jehoiada he boldly condemned both the king and the people for their rebellion against God (2 Chronicles 24:20), which so stirred up their resentment against him that at the king's commandment they stoned him with stones, and he died "in the court of the house of the Lord" (24:21). Christ alludes to this deed of murder in Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51. (see ZACHARIAS .)
(3.) A prophet, who had "understanding in the seeing of God," in the time of Uzziah, who was much indebted to him for his wise counsel (2 Chronicles 26:5).
Besides these, there is a large number of persons mentioned in Scripture bearing this name of whom nothing is known.
(4.) One of the chiefs of the tribe of Reuben (1 Chronicles 5:7).
(5.) One of the porters of the tabernacle (1 Chronicles 9:21).
(6.) 1 Chronicles 9:37.
(7.) A Levite who assisted at the bringing up of the ark from the house of Obededom (1 Chronicles 15:20-24).
(8.) A Kohathite Levite (1 Chronicles 24:25).
(9.) A Merarite Levite (1 Chronicles 27:21).
(10.) The father of Iddo (1 Chronicles 27:21).
(11.) One who assisted in teaching the law to the people in the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:7).
(12.) A Levite of the sons of Asaph (2 Chronicles 20:14).
(13.) One of Jehoshaphat's sons (2 Chronicles 21:2).
(14.) The father of Abijah, who was the mother of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29:1).
(15.) One of the sons of Asaph (2 Chronicles 29:13).
(16.) One of the "rulers of the house of God" (2 Chronicles 35:8).
(17.) A chief of the people in the time of Ezra, who consulted him about the return from captivity (Ezra 8:16); probably the same as mentioned in Nehemiah 8:4,
(18.) Nehemiah 11:12.
(19.) Nehemiah 12:16.
(20.) Nehemiah 12:35,41.
(21.) Isaiah 8:2.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
zek-a-ri'-a (zekharyahu, or zekharyah; the Septuagint Zacharia(s)): A very common name in the Old Testament. The form, especially the longer form, of the name would suggest for its meaning, "Yah remembers" or "Yah is renowned," and the name was doubtless understood in this sense in later times. But the analogies with ZACCUR, ZECHER, ZICHRI (which see), etc., make some original ethnic derivation probable.
(1) King of Israel, son of Jeroboam II (the King James Version "Zachariah"). See the next article.
(2) The grandfather of King Hezekiah, through Hezekiah's mother Abi (2 Kings 18:2, the King James Version "Zachariah" parallel 2 Chronicles 29:1).
(3) A contemporary of Isaiah, taken by Isaiah as a trustworthy witness in the matter of the sign Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Isaiah 8:1). As his father's name was Jeberechiah, some support seems to be offered to theories of those who would make him the author of certain portions of Zechariah.
See ZECHARIAH, BOOK OF.
(4) A Reubenite of the time of Israel's captivity (1 Chronicles 5:7).
(5) A Benjamite, living in Gideon (1 Chronicles 9:37; called "Zecher" in 8:31). He was the brother of Kish and hence, the uncle of Saul.
(6) A Manassite of Gilead, at the time of David (1 Chronicles 27:21).
(7) The third son of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 21:2). He was slain by Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:4).
(8) A "prince" who Jehoshaphat sent to "teach" in the cities of Judah (2 Chronicles 17:7). As this "teaching" was in connection with the establishing of the Law, Zechariah was primarily a judge.
(9) A prophet who was influential in the early days of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:5). He is characterized as ha-mebh in bire'oth (beyir'ath(?)) ha-elohim, which phrase is usually understood to mean that he had instructed (Revised Version margin) the king in the fear of God. As long as he lived the king profited by his instruction and advice.
The following eight are all Levites:
(10) A doorkeeper at the time of David, who was made a singer "of the second degree" (1 Chronicles 15:18; the text is confused). He was a player on a "psaltery" (1 Chronicles 15:20) and took part in the thanksgiving when the Ark was brought to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16:5).
(11) A son of Isshiah (1 Chronicles 24:25).
(12) A son of Meshelemiah, a "porter of the door of the tent of meeting" at the time of David (1 Chronicles 9:21; 1 Chronicles 26:2, 14). In 1 Chronicles 26:14 called "a discreet counselor."
(13) A son of Hosah, a Merarite, also at David's time (1 Chronicles 26:11).
(14) The father of the prophet, JAHAZIEL (which see) (2 Chronicles 20:14).
(15) A son of Asaph, who assisted in the purification of the Temple at the time of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29:13).
(16) A Kohathite, who assisted in the repair of the Temple at the time of Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:12).
(17) A son of Jonathan, an Asaphite, one of the musicians at the dedication of the wall at the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 12:35).
The following are all priests:
(18) A trumpeter at the time of David (1 Chronicles 15:24).
(19) A son of Jehoiada, at the time of Joash. He rebuked the people publicly for their apostasy, and was stoned by them, Joash consenting to their act (2 Chronicles 24:20-22). As 2 Chronicles is the last book in the Hebrew Old Testament, Zechariah was regarded as the last of the Old Testament martyrs, and hence, is coupled with Abel (the first martyr) in Matthew 23:35 parallel Luke 11:51. The words "son of Barachiah" in Matthew are due to confusing this Zechariah with the prophet.
(20) One of the "rulers of the house of God" at the time of Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:8).
(21) A son of Pashhur, 242 of whose descendants as "chiefs of fathers' houses" dwelt in Jerusalem at the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 11:13).
(22) A trumpeter at the dedication of the wall at the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 12:41).
(23) The prophet (Ezra 5:1; Ezra 6:14 Nehemiah 12:16 Zechariah 1:1, 7; Zechariah 7:1, 8; 1 Esdras 6:1; 7:3).
See ZECHARIAH, BOOK OF.
The following are all returned exiles or are mentioned only as ancestors of such:
(24) A son of Parosh (Ezra 8:3; 1 Esdras 8:30 has "Zacharias" here and elsewhere).
(25) A son of Bebai (Ezra 8:11; 1 Esdras 8:37)
(26) One of the "chief men" dispatched by Ezra to bring priests from Casiphia (Ezra 8:16; 1 Esdras 8:44). Doubtless the same as (24) or (25), above.
(27) One of the persons who stood by Ezra at the reading of the Law (Nehemiah 8:4; 1 Esdras 9:44); almost certainly identical with (26).
(28) A son of Elam, who had taken a foreign wife (Ezra 10:26; 1 Esdras 9:27).
(29) A son of Amariah, a Judahite, the ancestor of certain persons dwelling in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:4).
(30) A son of "the Shilonite," the ancestor of certain persons dwelling in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:5).
Burton Scott Easton
(zekharyah, zekharydhu, "Yah has remembered" (2 Kings 14:29; 2 Kings 15:8-12); Zacharias, the King James Version Zachariah): Son of Jeroboam II, and 14th king of Israel. He was the 4th of the line of Jehu, and reigned six months. Zechariah succeeded to a splendid inheritance, as he was king, not only of the ten tribes of Israel, but of the Syrian state of Damascus, which his father had subdued. In the unusual wealth and dignity of this position lay his peril. Also there were two dark shadows falling across his path, though both probably unseen by him. One was the promise to Jehu, as the reward of his destroying the worship of Baal in Israel, that his sons should sit on the throne of Israel to the 4th generation (2 Kings 10:30; 2 Kings 15:12). Zechariah was Jehu's great-great-grandson. The other was the word of Amos to the priest of Bethel: "Then said the Lord.... I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword" (Amos 7:8, 9).
The only brief notice of Zechariah personal to himself is that he gave his support to the worship of the calves, since Jeroboam I established the religion of the state. He hardly had time, however, to identify himself with this or any institution before he was publicly assassinated by Shallum, the son of Jabesh (he "smote him before the people"). The prophet Hosea was then alive, and there is probably allusion to this crime when, addressing Ephraim, he says: "Where is thy king, that he may save thee in all thy cities?.... I have given thee a king in mine anger, and have taken him away in my wrath" (Hosea 13:10, 11; compare 1:4).
There has long been difficulty with the chronology of this period. Archbishop Ussher assumed an interregnum of 11 years between the death of Jeroboam II and Zechariah's accession. This is accepted as probable by a recent writer, who sees "at least 10 years of incessant conflict between rival claimants to the throne on Jeroboam's death" (see article "Zechariah" in HDB, IV). It seems more likely that there is error in certain of the synchronisms. The year of Zechariah's accession was probably 759 B.C. (some put it later), and the 6 months of his reign, with that given to Shallum, may be included in the 10 years of Menahem, who followed them (2 Kings 15:17).
See CHRONOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
W. Shaw Caldecott
ZECHARIAH, BOOK OF
1. The Prophet
2. His Times and Mission
3. Contents and Analysis
4. The Critical Question Involved
5. The Unity of the Book
Few books of the Old Testament are as difficult of interpretation as the Book of Zechariah; no other book is as Messianic. Jewish expositors like Abarbanel and Jarchi, and Christian expositors such as Jerome, are forced to concede that they have failed "to find their hands" in the exposition of it, and that in their investigations they passed from one labyrinth to another, and from one cloud into another, until they lost themselves in trying to discover the prophet's meaning. The scope of Zechariah's vision and the profundity of his thought are almost without a parallel. In the present writer's judgment, his book is the most Messianic, the most truly apocalyptic and eschatological, of all the writings of the Old Testament.
1. The Prophet:
Zechariah was the son of Berechiah, and the grandson of Iddo (Zechariah 1:1, 7). The same Iddo seems to be mentioned among the priests who returned from exile under Zerubbabel and Joshua in the year 536 B.C. (Nehemiah 12:4 Ezra 2:2). If so, Zechariah was a priest as well as a prophet, and presumably a young man when he began to preach. Tradition, on the contrary, declares that he was well advanced in years. He apparently survived Haggai, his contemporary (Ezra 5:1; Ezra 6:14). He was a poet as well as a prophet. Nothing is known of his end. The Targum says he died a martyr.
2. His Times and Mission:
The earliest date in his book is the 2nd year (520 B.C.) of the reign of Darius Hystaspis, and the latest, the 4th year of the same king's reign (Zechariah 1:1, 7; Zechariah 7:1). Though these are the only dates given in his writings, it is possible of course that he may have continued active for several additional years. Otherwise, he preached barely two years. The conditions under which he labored were similar to those in Haggai's times. Indeed, Haggai had begun to preach just two months before Zechariah was called. At that time there were upheavals and commotions in different parts of the Persian empire, especially in the Northeast Jeremiah's prophecies regarding the domination of Babylon for 70 years had been fulfilled (Jeremiah 15:11; Jeremiah 29:10). The returned captives were becoming disheartened and depressed because Yahweh had not made it possible to restore Zion and rebuild the temple. The foundations of the latter had been already laid, but as yet there was no superstructure (Ezra 3:8-10 Zechariah 1:16). The altar of burnt offering was set up upon its old site, but as yet there were no priests worthy to officiate in the ritual of sacrifice (Ezra 3:2, 3 Zechariah 3:3). The people had fallen into apathy, and needed to be aroused to their opportunity. Haggai had given them real initiative, for within 24 days after he began to preach the people began to work (Haggai 1:1, 15). It was left for Zechariah to bring the task of temple-building to completion. This Zechariah did successfully; this, indeed, was his primary mission and work.
3. Contents and Analysis:
The prophecies of Zechariah naturally fall into two parts, chapters 1-8 and 9-14, both of which begin with the present and look forward into the distant future. (1) Zechariah 1-8, consisting of three distinct messages delivered on three different occasions:
(a) Zechariah 1:1-6, an introduction, delivered in the 8th month of the 2nd year of Darius Hystaspis (520 B.C.). These words, having been spoken three months before the prophecies which follow, are obviously a general introduction. They are decidely spiritual and strike the keynote of the entire collection. In them the prophet issues one of the strongest and most intensely spiritual calls to repentance to be found in the Old Testament.
(b) Zechariah 1:7-6:15, a series of eight night visions, followed by a coronation scene, all delivered on the 24th day of the 11th month of the same 2nd year of Darius (520 B.C.), or exactly two months after the corner stone of the temple had been laid (Haggai 2:18 Zechariah 1:7). These visions were intended to encourage the people to rebuild God's house. They are eight in number, and teach severally the following lessons:
(i) The vision of the horses (Zechariah 1:7-17), teaching God's special care for and interest in his people: "My house shall be built" (Zechariah 1:16).
(ii) The four horns and four smiths (Zechariah 1:18-21), teaching that Israel's foes have finally been destroyed; in fact that they have destroyed themselves. There is no longer, therefore, any opposition to building God's house.
(iii) The man with a measuring line (Zechariah 2), teaching that God will re-people, protect and dwell in Jerusalem as soon as the sacred edifice has been built. The city itself will expand till it becomes a great metropolis without walls; Yahweh will be a wall of fire round about it.
(iv) Joshua, the high priest, clad in filthy garments, and bearing the sins both of himself and the people (Zechariah 3); but cleansed, continued and made typical of the Messiah-Branch to come.
(v) The candelabrum and the two olive trees (Zechariah 4), teaching that the visible must give place to the spiritual, and that, through "the two sons of oil," Zerubbabel the layman, and Joshua the priest (Zechariah 4:14), the light of God's church will continue to burn with ever-flaming brightness. For it is "not by might" but by Yahweh's Spirit, i.e. by divine life and animation, by divine vigor and vivacity, by divine disposition and courage, by divine executive ability and technical skill, that God's house shall be built and supplied with spiritual life (Zechariah 4:6).
(vi) The flying roll (Zechariah 5:1-4), teaching that when the temple is built and God's law is taught the land shall be purified from outward wickedness.
(vii) The Ephah (Zechariah 5:5-11); wickedness personified is borne away back to the land of Shinar, teaching that when the temple is rebuilt wickedness shall be actually removed from the land.
(viii) The four chariots (Zechariah 6:1-8), teaching that God's protecting providence will be over His sanctuary, and that His people, purified from sin, shall rest secure in Him.
These eight visions are followed by a coronation scene, in which Joshua the high priest is crowned and made typical of the Messiah-Priest-King, whose name is Branch (Zechariah 6:9-15). (c) Zechariah 7; 8, Zechariah's answer to the Bethel deputation concerning fasting; delivered on the 4th day of the 9th month of the 4th year of Darius (518 B.C.). The Jews had been accustomed to fast on the anniversaries of the following four great outstanding events in the history of their capital:
(i) when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, in the 4th month (Jeremiah 52:6);
(ii) when the Temple was burned in the 5th month (Jeremiah 52:12);
(iii) when Gedaliah was murdered in the 7th month (Jeremiah 41:2); and
(iv) when the siege of Jerusalem was begun in the 10th month (2 Kings 25:1).
There are four sections to the prophet's answer divided by the slightly varying formula, "The word of Yahweh came unto me" (Zechariah 7:4, 8; Zechariah 8:1, 18) and teaching:
(a) Fasting affects only yourselves; God requires obedience (Zechariah 7:4-7).
(b) Look at the lesson from your fathers; they forsook justice and compassion and God punished them (Zechariah 7:8-14).
(c) Yahweh is now waiting to return to Jerusalem to save His people in truth and holiness. In the future, instead of a curse God will send blessing, instead of evil, good (Zechariah 8:1-17).
(d) In fact, your fasts shall be changed into festivals, and many nations shall in that day seek Yahweh of hosts in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:18-23).
(2) Zechariah 9-14, consisting of two oracles, without dates;
(a) Zechariah 9-11, an oracle of promise to the new theocracy. This section contains promises of a land in which to dwell, a return from exile, victory over a hostile world-power, temporal blessings and national strength, closing, with a parable of judgment brought on by Israel's rejection of Yahweh as their shepherd; thus Judah and Ephraim restored, united and made victorious over their enemies, are promised a land and a king (Zechariah 9); Israel shall be saved and strengthened (Zechariah 10); Israel shall be punished for rejecting the shepherding care of Yahweh (Zechariah 11);
(b) Zechariah 12-14, an oracle describing the victories of the new theocracy, and the coming day of Yahweh. This section is strongly eschatological, presenting three distinct apocalyptic pictures: thus how Jerusalem shall be besieged by her enemies, but saved by Yahweh (Zechariah 12); how a remnant of Israel purified and refined shall be saved (Zechariah 13); closing with a grand apocalyptic vision of judgment and redemption-the nations streaming up to Jerusalem to keep the joyous Feast of Tabernacles, and everything in that day becoming holy to Yahweh.
4. The Critical Question Involved:
There are two opposing schools of criticism in regard to the origin of Zechariah 9-14; one holds what is known as the pre-exilic hypothesis, according to which chapters 9-14 were written before the downfall of Jerusalem; more specifically, that Zechariah 9-11 and 13:7-9 spring from the 8th century B.C., having been composed perhaps by Zechariah, the son of Jeberechiah mentioned in Isaiah 8:2; whereas Zechariah 12-14, except 13:7-9, were composed by some unknown contemporary of Jeremiah in the 7th century B.C. On the other hand, there are also those who advocate a late post-Zecharian origin for chapters 9-14, somewhere about the 3rd century B.C. The latter hypothesis is today the more popular. Over against these the traditional view, of course, is that Zechariah, near the close of the 6th century, wrote the entire book ascribed to him. Only chapters 9-14 are in dispute. No one doubts the genuineness of Zechariah 1-8.
The following are the main arguments of those who advocate a pre-exilic origin for these oracles:
(1) Zechariah 11:8, "And I cut off the three shepherds in one month." These "three shepherds" are identified with certain kings who reigned but a short time each in the Northern Kingdom; for example, Zechariah, Shallum and Menahem (2 Kings 15:8-14). But the difficulty with this argument is that they were not cut off "in one month"; Menahem, on the contrary, reigned 10 years in Samaria (2 Kings 15:17).
(2) Zechariah 12:11-14, which speaks of "a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon," is claimed to fix the date of Zechariah 12-14. Josiah fell in the valley of Megiddo (2 Kings 23:29 2 Chronicles 35:22). But surely the mourning of Judah for Josiah might have been remembered for a century, from 609 B.C. till 518 B.C.
(3) Zechariah 14:5, referring to the "earthquake" in the days of Uzziah, is another passage fastened upon to prove the preexilic origin of these prophecies. But the earthquake which is here alluded to took place at least a century and a half before the date assigned for the composition of Zechariah 14. And surely if an earthquake can be alluded to by an author 150 years after it occurs, Zechariah, who lived less than a century later, might have alluded to it also.
(4) A much stronger argument in favor of a pre-exilic origin of these prophecies is the names given to theocracy, e.g. "Ephraim" and "Jerusalem" (Zechariah 9:10), "Judah" and "Ephraim" (Zechariah 9:13), "house of Judah" and "house of Joseph" (Zechariah 10:6), "Judah and Israel" (Zechariah 11:14), implying that the kingdoms of Israel and Judah are still standing. But subsequent to the captivity the Jews ever regarded themselves as representatives of the 12 tribes, as is obvious from their offering 12 sacrifices (Ezra 6:17; Ezra 8:35). Moreover, old names such as "Israel" and "Judah" long survived (compare Jeremiah 31:27-31 Zechariah 8:13).
(5) Zechariah 14:10, which defines the area occupied by Judah as extending "from Geba to Rimmon," which corresponds, it is alleged, with the conditions which prevailed just prior to the captivity. But it satisfies equally well the conditions after the exile in Zechariah's own time.
(6) Again, it is argued that the national sins, the prevailing sins, idolatry, teraphim and false prophecy (Zechariah 10:2; Zechariah 13:2-6), are those of pre-exilic times. But the same sins persisted in the post-exilic congregation (Nehemiah 6:7-14 Malachi 2:11; Malachi 3:5), and there is no special emphasis laid upon them here.
(7) Finally, it is argued that the enemies of Israel mentioned in Zechariah 9-14 are those of pre-exilic times, Assyria and Egypt (10:10, 11), Syria, Phoenicia and Philistia (9:1-7). But forms of expression are slow in changing: the name "Assyrians" occurs in Lamentations 5:6, and "Assyria" is employed instead of "Persia" in Ezra 6:22. Jeremiah prophesied against Damascus and Hamath long after their loss of independence (49:23-27). After the exile, the Philistines resisted Israel's return (Nehemiah 4:7, 8). In short all these nations were Israel's hereditary foes, and, therefore, judgments pronounced against them were always in place. Furthermore, it may be said in general that there are reasons for thinking that, in both halves of the Book of Zechariah, the exile is represented as an event of the past, and that the restoration from exile both of Ephraim and Judah, though incomplete, has already begun. This is unquestionably true of Zechariah 1-8 (1:12; 2:6-12; 6:10; 7:05; 8:7, 8). The exile is treated as a fact. It is almost equally true of Zechariah 9-14 (compare 9:8, 11; 10:6, 8-10). Moreover, it may with justice be claimed that the alleged authors of chapters 9-14 dissociate themselves from any definitely named person or any specific event known to be pre-exilic. God alone is described as Ruler of His people. The only king mentioned is the Messiah-King (9:9, 10; 14:9). The "house of David" mentioned in 12:7-12; 13:1, is never described as in possession of the throne. It is David's "house," and not any earthly ruler in it, of which the prophet speaks. Further, there are passages, indeed, in chapters 9-14 which, if pre-exilic in origin, would have been obscure and even misleading to a people confronted by the catastrophes of 722 and 586 B.C. No specific enemy is alluded to. No definite army is named as approaching. Instead of Assyria, Javan is painted as the opposing enemy of theocracy (9:13), and even she is not yet raised up or even threatening. On the other hand, in Zechariah 12-14, it is not the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, but "all nations," who are described as coming up against Jerusalem (12:2, 3; 14:2). Moreover, victory and not defeat is promised (9:8, 14, 16; 12:4, 7, 8). The preexilic prophets Amos, Hosea and Jeremiah held out no such hopes. These oracles, however, promise even temporal prosperity and abundance (9:17; 10:1, 8, 12; 12:08; 14:2, 14); and they exhort the people to rejoice rather than to fear (9:9; 10:7); while in 14:16-19 all nations are represented as going up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, which was the most joyous feast of the Hebrew calendar. All this is quite the opposite of what the pre-exilic prophets (who are known to have been pre-exilic) actually prophesied. In Zechariah 9-14, there is sounded forth not one clear note of alarm or warning; judgment rather gives place to hope, warning to encouragement, threatening to joy and gladness, all of which is most inconsistent with the idea that these chapters are of preexilic origin. On the other hand, their are perfectly consistent with the conditions and promises of post-exilic times.
The other hypothesis remaining to be discussed is that known as the post-Zecharian. This may be said to represent the prevailing critical view at the present time. But it, like the pre-exilic hypothesis, is based upon a too literalistic and mechanical view of prophecy. Those, like Stade, Wellhausen, Kuenen, Marti, Kautzsch, Cornill, Cheyne, Driver, Kuiper, Echardt and Mitchell, who advocate this view, employ the same critical methods as those whose views we have just discussed, but arrive at diametrically opposite conclusions. Indeed, no two critics agree as to the historical circumstances which produced these oracles. Most are of the opinion, however, that these chapters were composed during the Greek period, i.e. after 333 B.C. In examining the arguments urged by the representatives of this school special caution is needed in distinguishing between the grounds advanced in support of a post-exilic and those which argue a post-Zecharian date. The former we may for the most part accept, as Zechariah was himself a post-exilic prophet; the latter we must first examine. In favor of a very late or Grecian origin for Zechariah 9-14, the chief and all-important passage, and the one upon which more emphasis is placed than upon all others together, is 9:13, "For I have bent Judah for me, I have filled the bow with Ephraim; and I will stir up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and will make thee as the sword of a mighty man." Kuiper in summing up throws the whole weight of his argument in favor of a Greek date on this verse. Wellhausen makes it decide the date of these prophecies; while Stade declares that the announcement of the "sons of Javan" is alone sufficient to prove that these prophecies are after 333 B.C. Two things are especially emphasized by critics in connection with this important passage:
(1) that the sons of Javan are the world-power of the author's day, namely, the Greek-Maccabean world-power; and
(2) that they are the enemies of Zion.
But in opposition to these claims it should be observed
(1) that the sons of Javan are but one of several world-powers within the range of the prophet's horizon (Zechariah 9:1-7, Syria, Phoenicia, Philistia; 12:2 f; 14:2, all nations; and 10:10, 11, Assyria and Egypt); and
(2) that the Greeks under Alexander were not the enemies of Zion, and did not fight against the Jews, but against the Persians.
Assuming the genuineness of the passage (Zechariah 9:13), the following considerations point to the Persian period as its probable historical background:
(a) The prophecy would be vague and meaningless if uttered after the invasion of Alexander.
(b) The passage does not describe a victory for the sons of Javan, but rather a defeat.
(c) It is introduced by an appeal to those still in exile to return, which would have been quite meaningless after Alexander's conquest.
(d) In short, Zechariah 9:13-17, as a whole, is not a picture of actual war, but rather an apocalyptic vision of the struggle of Israel with the world-power of the West, hence, its indefiniteness and figurative language.
Furthermore, it must not be forgotten that in Zechariah's own day the Greeks were rapidly becoming a menacing world-power. In the first 3 years (521-519 B.C.) of Darius' reign, 12 different revolts took place, principally in the North and East But, in 518, Darius was compelled to move westward at the head of his royal armies; Darius' visit to Egypt in 517 B.C. was cut short by the disturbances of the Greeks (compare Wiedemann, Gesch., 236). In the year 516 B.C. the Greeks of the Hellespont and Bosporus, with the island of Samos, were made to submit to Pets rule. The next year (515 B.C.), Darius led an expedition against the Scythians across the Danube, the failure of which encouraged the Ionians subsequently to revolt. In 500 B.C. the great Ionian revolt actually took place. In 499 B.C. Sardis, the most important stronghold for Persia in Asia Minor, was burned by the Athenians. In 490 B.C. Marathon was fought and Persia was conquered. In 480 B.C. Xerxes was defeated at Salamis. But it is unnecessary to sketch the rise of Jayan further. Enough has been related to show that already in the reign of Darius Hystaspis-in whose reign Zechariah is known to have lived and prophesied-the sons of Greece were a rising world-power, and a threatening world-power. This is all really that is required by the passage. The sons of Jayan were but one of Israel's enemies in Zechariah's day; but they were of such importance that victory over them carried with it momentous Messianic interests. The language of chapter 9 is vague, and, in our judgment, too vague and too indefinite to have been uttered after Marathon (490 B.C.), or even after the burning of Sardis (500 B.C.); for, in that case, the author would have been influenced more by Greece and less by the movements and commotions of the nations.
Other arguments advanced by the post-Zecharian school are:
(1) Zechariah 14:9, "And Yahweh shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall Yahweh be one, and his name one." To Stade this passage contains a polemic against the conditions in Greek times when all gods were conceived of as only different representations of one and the same god. But, on the contrary, the post-exilic congregation was as truly a theocracy in the days of Darius Hystaspis as in the period subsequent to Alexander's conquest. The Jewish colony of the Restoration was a religious sect, not a political organization. Zechariah often pictures the close relation of Yahweh to His people (2:10-13; 8:3, 13), and the author of chapters 9-14 describes similar conditions. The "yearning for a fuller theocracy," which Cheyne (Bampton Lectures, 120) discovers in Zechariah 9-14, is thoroughly consistent with the yearning of a struggling congregation in a land of forsaken idols shortly after the return from exile.
(2) Zechariah 12:2 b, interpreted to mean that "Judah also, forced by the enemy, shall be in the siege against Jerusalem," is a proof, it is alleged, that the children of the Diaspora had served as soldiers. The verse, accordingly, is said to be a description of the hostile relations which actually existed between Jerusalem and Judah in the beginning of the Maccabean struggle. The validity of these claims, however, is vitiated by a correct exegesis of the passage in hand. The text is apparently corrupt. In order to obtain a subject for "shall be," the preposition before Judah had better be stricken out, as in the Targum. The passage then translated reads, "And Judah also shall be in the siege against Jerusalem." But this is ambiguous. It may mean that Judah shall fight against Jerusalem, or it may mean that Judah, too, shall be besieged. The latter is obviously the true meaning of the passage, as Zechariah 12:7 indicates. For, as one nation might besiege Jerusalem (a city), so all nations, coming up are practically going to besiege Judah. The Septuagint favors this interpretation; likewise the Coptic version; and Zechariah 14:14. Wellhausen frankly concedes that "no characteristic of the prophecy under discussion in reality agrees with the conditions of the Maccabean time. The Maccabees were not the Jews of the lowland, and they did not join themselves with the heathen out of hatred to the city of Jerusalem, in order finally to fall treacherously upon their companions in war. There is not the slightest hint in our passage of religious persecution; that alone decides, and hence, the most important sign of Maccabean times is wanting."
(3) Zechariah 10:10, 11, which mentions "Egypt" and "Assyria" (and which, strange to say, is also one of the strongest proofs in support of the preexilic hypothesis), is singularly enough interpreted to refer respectively to the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria. But this is quite impossible, and especially so in view of the prominence which is given to Egypt in 14:19, which points to Persian rather than Greek conditions; for then Egypt, in consequence of her perpetual efforts to throw off the Persian yoke, was naturally brought under the observation of the Jews in Palestine, who repeatedly beheld the Persian armies passing on their way to the valley of the Nile.
(4) Still another argument advanced in favor of a late post-Zecharian date for these oracles is that from language and style: Aramaisms, scriptio plena, the preponderance of the shorter form of the personal pronoun "I," the Hebrew ending on, the frequent use of the nota accusativi, especially with suffixes, the omission of the article, the use of the infinitive absolute, and the clumsy diction and weary repetition of these prophecies are pointed to as evidence of their origin in Grecian times. But in opposition to these claims, it may be remarked in general that their force is greatly weakened by two considerations: (a) the fact that the author of Zechariah 9-14 depends so largely on older prophecies for his thoughts, and consequently more or less for his language; and (b) the fact that these prophecies are so very brief. There is no mode of reasoning so treacherous as that from language and style. (For the technical discussion of this point, see the present writer's The Prophecies of Zechariah, 54-59.)
5. The Unity of the Book:
Among the further objections made to the genuineness of Zechariah 9-14, and consequently to the unity of the book, the following are the chief:
(1) There are no "visions" in these oracles as in Zechariah 1-6. But there are none either in Zechariah 7; 8, and yet these latter are not denied to Zechariah. As a matter of fact, however, visions do actually occur in chapters 9-14, only of a historico-parabolic (11:4-17) and eschatological character (9:13-17; chapters 12; 14).
(2) There are "no dates," as in Zechariah 1:1, 7; Zechariah 7:1. But dates are seldom attached to "oracles" (Isaiah 13:1; Isaiah 15:1 Nahum 1:1 Habakkuk 1:1 Malachi 1:1). There is but one instance in the entire Old Testament (Isaiah 14:28 margin); whereas "visions" are frequently dated.
(3) There is "no Satan." But Satan is never mentioned elsewhere in any prophetic book of the Old Testament.
(4) There is "no interpreting angel" in Zechariah 9-14. But "oracles" need no interpreting angel. On the other hand, "the Angel of Yahweh" is mentioned in both parts (3:1;; 12:8), a fact which is far more noteworthy.
(5) Proper names are wanting in Zechariah 9-14, e.g. Zerubbabel and Joshua. But neither do these names occur in chapters 7; 8.
(6) The sins alluded to are different, e.g. theft and false swearing in Zechariah 5:3, 1; while in 10:2 seeking teraphim and in 13:2; false prophecy are named. But these sins may have existed side by side. What is far more noteworthy, in both parts the prophet declares that all these evils shall be taken away and removed out of the land (3:9; 5:9-11; 13:1, 2).
(7) The Messianic pictures are different, e.g. in Zechariah 1-8 the Messiah is spoken of as Branch-Priest (3:8, 9; 6:12, 13); whereas in chapters 9-14, as King, (9:9, 10). But in 6:13 it is expressly stated that the Branch-Priest "shall sit and rule upon his throne." Of far greater moment is the picture of the nations coming to Zion to worship Yahweh. This remarkable picture recurs in all the different sections of the book (6:12, 13, 15; 8:20-23; 12:06; 14:16-19).
On the other hand, the following are some of the arguments which favor the genuineness of these disputed chapters:
(1) The fundamental ideas of both parts are the same. By this we mean that the deeper we go the nearer we approach unity. As Dr. G.A. Smith argues against Graetz, who divides Hosea 1-3 from Hosea 4-14, "in both parts there are the same religious principles and the same urgent and jealous temper"; the same is equally true of Zechariah 1-8 and Zechariah 9-14. Certain similarities are especially noteworthy, e.g.
(a) an unusually deep, spiritual tone pervades the entire book.
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Zechariah (55 Occurrences)
Matthew 23:35 that all the innocent blood shed upon earth may come on you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Berechiah whom you murdered between the Sanctuary and the altar. (WEY NAS NIV)
Luke 1:5 There was in the time of Herod, the king of Judaea, a priest of the name of Zechariah, belonging to the class of Abijah. He had a wife who was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. (WEY NIV)
Luke 1:12 and Zechariah on seeing him was agitated and terrified. (WEY NIV)
Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your petition has been heard: and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call his name John. (WEY NIV)
Luke 1:18 "By what proof," asked Zechariah, "shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is far advanced in years." (WEY NIV)
Luke 1:21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and were surprised that he stayed so long in the Sanctuary. (WEY NIV)
Luke 1:40 Here she came to the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth; (WEY NIV)
Luke 1:59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and were going to call him Zechariah, after his father. (WEY NIV)
Luke 1:67 And Zechariah his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke in a rapture of praise. (WEY NIV)
Luke 3:2 during the High-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, a message from God came to John, the son of Zechariah, in the Desert. (WEY NIV)
Luke 11:51 Yes, I tell you that, from the blood of Abel down to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the House, it shall all be required from the present generation. (WEY NAS NIV)
2 Kings 14:29 Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zechariah his son reigned in his place. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS NIV)
2 Kings 15:8 In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS NIV)
2 Kings 15:10 Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and struck him before the people, and killed him, and reigned in his place. (See NIV)
2 Kings 15:11 Now the rest of the acts of Zechariah, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS NIV)
2 Kings 18:2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 5:7 His brothers by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned: the chief, Jeiel, and Zechariah, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 8:31 And Gedor and Ahio and Zechariah and Mikloth. (BBE)
1 Chronicles 9:21 Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter of the door of the Tent of Meeting. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 9:37 and Gedor, and Ahio, and Zechariah, and Mikloth. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 15:18 and with them their brothers of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, and Obed-Edom, and Jeiel, the doorkeepers. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 15:20 and Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with stringed instruments set to Alamoth; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 15:24 Shebaniah, and Joshaphat, and Nethanel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did blow the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obed-Edom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 16:5 Asaph the chief, and second to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obed-Edom, and Jeiel, with stringed instruments and with harps; and Asaph with cymbals, sounding aloud; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 24:25 The brother of Micah, Isshiah; of the sons of Isshiah, Zechariah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 26:2 Meshelemiah had sons: Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 26:11 Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth: all the sons and brothers of Hosah were thirteen. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 26:14 The lot eastward fell to Shelemiah. Then for Zechariah his son, a wise counselor, they cast lots; and his lot came out northward. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 27:21 of the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah: of Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner: (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 17:7 Also in the third year of his reign he sent his princes, even Ben Hail, and Obadiah, and Zechariah, and Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 20:14 Then on Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite, of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of Yahweh in the midst of the assembly; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 21:2 He had brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 24:20 The Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people, and said to them, Thus says God, Why do you disobey the commandments of Yahweh, so that you can't prosper? because you have forsaken Yahweh, he has also forsaken you. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 26:5 He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the vision of God: and as long as he sought Yahweh, God made him to prosper. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 29:1 Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 29:13 and of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel; and of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 34:12 The men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and others of the Levites, all who were skillful with instruments of music. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Ezra 5:1 Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem; in the name of the God of Israel prophesied they to them. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Ezra 6:14 The elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. the lowest (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Ezra 8:3 Of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah; and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males one hundred fifty. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Ezra 8:11 Of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai; and with him twenty-eight males. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Ezra 8:16 Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, who were teachers. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Ezra 10:26 Of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, and Abdi, and Jeremoth, and Elijah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Nehemiah 11:4 In Jerusalem lived certain of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, of the children of Perez; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Nehemiah 11:5 and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Colhozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of the Shilonite. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Nehemiah 11:12 and their brothers who did the work of the house, eight hundred twenty-two; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malchijah, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Nehemiah 12:16 of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Nehemiah 12:35 and certain of the priests' sons with trumpets: Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Nehemiah 12:41 and the priests, Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Isaiah 8:2 and I will take for myself faithful witnesses to testify: Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Hosea 8:14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send a fire on his cities, and it will devour its fortresses." Zechariah (WEB)
Zechariah 1:1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of Yahweh came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Zechariah 1:7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of Yahweh came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Zechariah 7:1 It happened in the fourth year of king Darius that the word of Yahweh came to Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Chislev. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Zechariah 7:8 The word of Yahweh came to Zechariah, saying, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)